26 Sep - 30 Sep 2009 Brunei

Brunei Darussalam
Pusat Belia Youth Hostel +6732222900
Twin room (“family room”) with air-con for BND 20.- or US$ 13.80 per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Youth Hostel in Bandar Seri Begawan, which we would highly recommend, and for directions:

Exploring Bandar Seri Begawan (“City of the Abdicated Sultan”), a quiet, pleasant, greenery-dotted city with a low skyline that’s decorated with minarets and domed mosques rising out of rickety water villages, and visiting (i) the Royal Regalia Museum (on Google Map) aka Alat-Alat Kebesaran Diraja displaying, amongst others, the mahkota (the crown of the sultan), the keris sinaga (the dagger of the sultan) and the payong diraja (the royal umbrella), (ii) the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque with its 44-m high minaret and (iii) the largest mosque in Brunei, the Jame’Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, built in 1992 CE to celebrate the 25th year of the sultan’s reign.

Visiting the sultan’s happy and friendly Brunei Malay subjects (literacy stands at 95%, average life expectancy is 77 years, and there are pensions for all, free medical care, free schooling, cheap loans, subsidies for cars and boats, short working weeks, no income tax, anti-obesity programs being promoted) at the sprawling kampung ayer, a collection of traditional and modern stilt villages (water villages) on either side of Sungai Brunei.

Taking city bus no. 38/33 (BND 1.- per person) from Bandar Seri Begawan to the international ferry terminal at Muria, clearing out of Brunei thus paying per person BND 2.- departure tax to the immigration agents of His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, allegedly one of the wealthiest rulers on earth, and thereafter taking the Suria express boat (BND 15.- or US$ 10.- per person) for the 20-nm long ride over the Brunei Bay from strictly Islamic Brunei Darussalam (where in 1991 CE the sale of alcohol was banned) to Labuan island aka the booze-cruisers’ duty-free paradise (where in 2009 CE the price for one litre of genuine Scotch [VAT 69] was only a heavenly MYR 22.- or US$ 6.30, lah).

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Recommended books - click below for your Amazon order from the United States:

For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon bargains from Canada, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United Kingdom, please click here